This tutorial shows how you can quickly make an RSS feed of any website without requring software or having to write a single line of XML code.
Among other benefits, adding an RSS feed to a regular website can help increase visibility and also boost site traffic because your web pages will now get indexed in blog search engines and online feed readers as well in addition to regular web search.
How to Make a RSS Feed from an existing Website
Let’s say you run a website "IceCreamFlavors.com" that sells about a dozen different ice-cream flavors online. This site is small with about 15-20 pages in all.
You created this website in the web 1.0 era using Frontpage and HTML but now you desperately want to have an RSS feed for this website so that customers can automatically know when you launch a new flavor or when there’s a new promotion running on the site.
Great idea but the only problem is that you are no geek and have absolutely no clue about RSS feeds. How do you then go about publishing XML web feeds for your site?
Generate RSS Feeds through Google Reader
Well, there’s a very popular tool that help you do all this for free – it’s called Google Reader. Here are the steps involved:
Step 1: Login to your Google Reader account and drag n’ drop the "note in reader" link from the web page into the bookmarks toolbar of your web browser. See screecast demo if this sound confusing.
Step 2: Manually open all the web pages of your Ice Cream site in the browser – you only to need to open pages that are to be included in the RSS feed so you can safely skip pages like "Contact Me", "Terms & Conditions", "Return Policy", etc.
Step 3: Now the real fun starts. For each page, select just the relevant content (i.e., text, images, embedded YouTube clips but no navigation areas) with your mouse and then press the "Note in Reader" button.
Step 4: A pop-up dialog will open in your browser as shown in the screenshot. Click "add tags" and assign some tag to this page (we use "website") for this example. Close the browser tab and repeat the same process for all other pages of your site – make sure you assign the same tag to each page.
Step 5: Go to Google Reader Settings => "Folders and Tags" and click that gray RSS icon next to the tag "website" to make it public. You’ll then see a new link that says "view public page" – copy the URL of that page to the clipboard.
We are almost done now. Go to FeedBurner, paste the URL in that feed box, click Next and give your RSS feed some nice title and an address. You can subscribe to this new feed address in Bloglines or Google Reader to see if things are working as expected – they should.
Later, when you add new pages to your ice cream website, you can easily distribute them via the RSS feed by just repeating steps #3 and #4. You may also add the following line of code to your HTML web pages (inside the <HEAD> tag) so that visitors may auto-discover your RSS feed:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Ice Cream Flavors" href="http://feedproxy.google.com/icecream" />
Related hack: Lifestreaming RSS Feeds with Google Reader